HC Deb 02 May 1955 vol 540 cc1347-8
60. Captain Pilkington

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what was the number of people drawing National Assistance for each year since the war.

Mr. Peake

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Captain Pilkington

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it has gone up or down in recent years?

Mr. Peake

I am glad to say that during the last 12 months the figures have practically stabilised.

Captain Pilkington

Could my right hon. Friend convey that information to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite so that they can use it in the Election?

Following is the answer:

The number of persons receiving regular weekly national assistance grants at the end of July, 1948, at the end of that and each subsequent year, and on the latest date for which information is available were:

July, 1948 842,000
December, 1948 1,011,000
December, 1949 1,157,000
December, 1950 1,350,000
December, 1951 1,462,000
December, 1952 1,667,000
December, 1953 1,761,000
December, 1954 1,796,000
29th March, 1955 1,807,000

NOTE: The National Assistance Act did not come into force until July, 1948, and comparable figures are not available for earlier dates.

62. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many persons were receiving regular weekly payments of National Assistance in the inner London region in March. 1954, and March, 1955, respectively.

Mr. Peake

The figures are 205,172 on 30th March, 1954, and 199,724 on 29th March, 1955.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that although that represents a reduction as compared with March, 1954, it still leaves 18,000 more people in the London area drawing National Assistance than in March, 1952?

Mr. Peake

I have frequently expressed concern at the increase in the numbers on National Assistance, but it is a matter of great satisfaction that the figures are now stabilised and that in fact in the inner London region they have gone down.